01 April, 2013

A Film (for a change)

JAG should be glad i have now watched this (The Prestige): I bought it several months ago and started to watch it but couldn’t go on, it absolutely didn’t grip me at all, and he was quite upset with me when i told him that, as he thinks it’s a brilliant film. So, now i’ve finished it (again, actually, i have watched it previously, on an aeroplane, i think, which probably lowered my standards), which i managed by turning on the subtitles and paying more attention to them than the sounds ~ in fact, i don’t remember any of the noise of the thing, music, voices effects, nothing at all ~ so i followed the plot a bit more easily.

That is, in fact, one of my primary problems with films like this ~ and there are far too many like this ~ in which the director has forgotten what he is supposed to be doing and has lost himself in the fantasy of being an auteur and making a piece of Art: He no longer realises that one of the essential points of all good art is that it be accessible. In The Prestige, for example, i found it hard to tell which character was which, to understand the flow of the plot (because it is told through flashbacks and memories and flashforwards with neither reason nor concern for clarity and care of the audience), to know which characters were supposed to be good and which not, and certainly to care when the final plot twist and revelation was made ~ mine only feeling at that point was gratitude that the thing was obviously coming to an end (though it still dragged on for longer, even when there was nothing left to be told).

If the thing were truly an artwork, rather than an artifice, none of these things would have been true; though i might have had to work at understanding parts of it, the whole would be greater than the parts, and the time would have been well spent. As it is, cross-applying my definition of success from books to this film, it clearly is not a success: Far from watching another simply because it is directed by Christopher Nolan, i would positively avoid another film if i knew he were the director. Not, then, a success.

1 comment:

Elsie Wilson said...

Interesting, with regard to the last sentiment, that Nolan made one of the crap films of the last decade, Inception, which i found almost entirely unwatchable.